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Roast rib of beef with perfect gravy

Updated: Mon, 26 October, 2020

Roast rib of beef with all the trimmings, Yorkshire puddings and the perfect gravy. It’s not just for Christmas, but on the 25th December you could do worse than this.

roast rib of beef

Whenever I have a proper roast beef with all the trimmings, puddings, potatoes, the full Monty, I always think this surely defies all the naysayers who claim ‘British cuisine’ is an oxymoron and food is the pits in the UK. Clearly they’ve never tried top notch Sunday roast and beef in particular.

What a glorious thing. Perfect invention for a Sunday, to stick a quarter of a cow in the oven and forget about it for the time it takes to get to church and back or play a stint of Call of Duty upstairs.

It should be sizeable to feed whoever turns up for lunch, and the larger it is, the tastier.

Which cut of beef for the best roast?

Topside is a nice cut which will cook evenly throughout; it might sometimes be a little dry if the beef isn’t very marbled.

Sirloin is a lot of people’s favourite, but I’ll have rib on the bone any time.

If you have a lot of gobs to feed you might want to try the rib on a standing bone – the flavour of beef cooked on the bone is incomparable. That also would always be my choice for Christmas dinner.

It is stunningly good, especially those bits on the bone that get left behind in the kitchen and are exclusively the chef’s bonus.

roast fore rib of beef

How to cook the perfect beef roast?

It is all in the timing. Obviously the quality of meat matters: sometimes you just unluckily are roasting a tough old hide. But the fifteen minutes per pound of weight mantra has never let me down.

Unless your joint is very small in which case it’s ten, sear it in the hottest oven for twenty minutes. Then turn the temperature right down and follow the mantra. That’s for medium rare; for medium make it twenty minutes per pound; and well done is a crime against good beef.

The beauty of rib of beef is that it cooks differently in different places. The centre will be decidedly pink and the outside skirt cooked more, which makes for variety and satisfaction of different preferences.


No roast without gravy

It is an odd thing if you think about it: would we season the potato water and serve the spuds dunked in it? And yet that’s what we do with roast meat and can’t get enough.

Incidentally, that potato water can go into gravy instead to thicken it.

My secret is redcurrant jelly and whisking it for ever on the roasting tray placed on the hob. That way all the tasty bits will be dislodge and add to the flavour.

Add flour, but not too much – if time allows it’s actually the best to cook the sauce down to thicken it naturally.

roast rib of beef with perfect gravy

The secret of Yorkshire puddings

Finally – yorkies. It is invariably the cause of rift between me and my daughter at Christmas: I think no puddings with Christmas lunch, she thinks no Christmas lunch without puddings.

In case you favour her stand, I share my recipe. In volume, the same amount of flour and milk as an egg measures; increase amounts according to needs.

Does the mix need to stand? It doesn't, but to organise your cooking efficiently you might want to make the pudding mix in advance. In which case, keep it in the fridge.

I have no claims to Yorkshire pudding mastery; in fact mine usually look distinctly post-modern, crawling out of the tins towards the oven door, clearly seeking to escape.

Should you worry about the aesthetics (I don’t), cook them in oil – they’ll shape up better and rise like towers. If you cook them in beef drippings, they’ll sprawl desperately but will be incredibly tasty.

More roast beef recipes

This is a dish for a special occasion: fillet of beef stuffed with dried porcini mushrooms and roasted to a perfect medium rare.

Low temperature cooking brings the effects similar to sous-vide. Especially sirloin of beef roasted in a low oven benefits, because heat tends to dry it out.

A cheap but glorious cut, beef brisket, braised with onions, mushrooms and sweet wine.

More Sunday roast recipes

Rotisserie style chicken, roasted with potatoes arranged on the tray underneath, so they cook beautifully in chicken fat.

Shoulder of lamb, whole or half, is a comfort roast.

And the best pork roast is a braise: pork shoulder has just enough marbling not to dry out, that’s the cut to go for.

Roast rib of beef with perfect gravy

Servings: 6Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 2kg (4 pound) rib of beef, which will be two rib bones
  • salt, pepper, mustard powder
  • 1 onion cut in half
  • For the gravy:
  • 1 tsp flour mixed with a little cold water
  • 1 tsp redcurrant jelly or cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup of beef stock or the water the potatoes were boiling in
  • For the Yorkshire puddings (makes 8):
  • 1 egg
  • 40g plain flour
  • 60ml whole milk
  • oil, if not using beef fat


1. Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/gas 9. Rub the beef with salt, pepper and mustard. Place it in a roasting tin suited to later go on the hob to cook the gravy in. Prop the beef with two halves of the onion.

2. Put it in the oven and roast for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 190C/375F/gas 5 and roast for 15 minutes to a pound of beef for medium rare – in this instance another 70 minutes.

3. After the required time take the meat out and place in a warmed dish deep enough to catch the resting juices, cover loosely with foil and keep in a warm place for 20 - 30 minutes.

4. For the gravy: spoon most of the fat off the roasting tray, into the Yorkshire puddings tray if you like to cook them in drippings, or just discard it altogether. Place the tray on the hob on low heat. Squash the onion into gravy with a fork, it can be strained before serving. When it starts bubbling, add the flour and mix well with a sauce whisk. Add the jelly or cranberry sauce, bring to the boil, add the stock and bubble until reduced to thicker than required consistency – the resting juices poured in will dilute it further.

5. For the Yorkshire puddings: the best mix is with equal volumes of egg, flour and milk. The amounts above may differ depending on the size of eggs. Whisk the flour into eggs, gradually whisk in milk until smooth. If made in advance, chill in the fridge.

6. Place about a tablespoon of fat in each hollow of a pudding tray. Preheat it in the oven when the beef is still cooking. When ready to make puddings, turn the heat up to maximum, carefully remove the tray from the oven and pour in the batter; it should sizzle and spit. Promptly put back in the oven and bake for 5 minutes, until risen, brown and crisp.

7. Carve the beef thickly and serve with all the trimmings.

Originally published: Wed, 15 October, 2014

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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